New York – Five Boroughs Cocktails

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we hit the bigtime, New York. There’s so much going on in the Empire State that a lot of categories will be filled with options. So, let’s take a bite out of the Big Apple and see how it tastes:

Motto: “Excelsior (Ever upward)” – And spinning… constantly spinning!

Food: As far as the Sip Advisor is concerned, the complete meal of New York-created foods is a Club Sandwich with side Potato Chips, finished with a slice of New York Cheesecake for dessert. Other creations worth mentioning include Buffalo Wings, Eggs Benedict, Chicken and Waffles, Waldorf Salad, Red Velvet Cake, and even Jell-O.

Drink: There is a cocktail for each of the five boroughs that make up New York City. This includes The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island Ferry drinks. New York can also be credited with the Long Island Iced Tea, Penicillin, Cosmopolitan, Martini, Appletini, Bloody Mary, Tom Collins, and New York Sour beverages.

Club Sandwich

Site to See: When Mrs. Sip and I were in New York City for far too short of a visit, we tried to see as much as we could. Our stops included Times Square, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Madison Square Garden, Central Park, and Grand Central Station. Outside of New York City, Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the country.

Street: Three industry hubs (financial, advertising, theatrical) can be found along New York City streets. First, Wall Street is home to the New York Stock Exchange, the largest in the world. Second, numerous ad agencies call Madison Avenue home, used as the setting for TV show Mad Men. Finally, Broadway is the epicenter of American theatre, with playhouses lining the route.

TV Show: The next time I’m in New York, I plan to take a TV show tour, given all the great shows that have been set in the state. These include Seinfeld, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, All in the Family, The King of Queens, Taxi, Law & Order, Sex and the City, and I Love Lucy.  Shows that can’t be toured, but deserve mention, include Futurama, Saturday Night Live, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sesame Street.

Movie: Another tough category to narrow down, I have to go with one of my all-time favourites, It’s a Wonderful Life. Starring Jimmy Stewart, this story of truly appreciating what you have, has become a Christmas classic, shown every holiday season. Honourable mentions include the Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises, as well as The Warriors.

Wonderful Life

Book/Author: So many comic books are set in New York, including the likes of Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and Dr. Strange. All of these entries share the common thread that each was created or co-created by New Yorker Stan Lee. Lee is also responsible for other popular characters, such as the X-Men, Thor, Hulk, Black Panther, and Ant-Man.

Fictional Character: As a child, the Sip Advisor loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon and movies. The heroes in a half shell dwelled in the sewers of the New York City, being trained in martial arts by Splinter, before being required to save the city and world from evildoers. Associates of the Turtles, such as reporter April O’Neil and vigilante Casey Jones are also New Yorkers.

Fictional City: Riverdale, setting of the Archie Comics universe, is generally thought to be located in New York. This means the nearby towns of Greendale (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and Midvale (Josie and the Pussycats) are also likely in the state. The earliest Archie Comics reference the real-life Bronx neighbourhood Riverdale, but this changed as the series progressed.

Actor/Actress: A number of today’s A-list stars were born in New York. Among them, are Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Hathaway, Scarlet Johansson, Al Pacino, and Denzel Washington. A couple legends of the big and small screen also called the state home, including Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, Kirk Douglas and Mickey Rooney.

Stan Lee

Song: This category is down to two choices: New York, New York by Frank Sinatra and Empire State of Mind by Jay Z and Alicia Keys. Both are fitting anthems for New York City, as well as the rest of the state. I guess it all depends on your preferred style of music. If you don’t like either, artists such as Billy Joel and The Beastie Boys also have New York-based tracks.

Band/Musician: Another category filled with great options. I’ll go with The Ramones, as one of the first punk rock groups and revolutionaries for that style. Although not related, band members all adopted the last name Ramone. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

People: Women’s rights icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was born in Brooklyn. After a lengthy legal career, she was appointed to U.S. Supreme Court, in 1993. Nicknamed The Notorious R.B.G., Ginsburg was the subject of the 2018 biographical film, On the Basis of Sex, starring Felicity Jones. There’s even been a Sam Adams beer released in her honour.

Animal: After a history of incidents, including killing a circus spectator, Topsy the Elephant was sentenced to death by hanging, as part of a publicity stunt. The ASPCA objected to the public event (with admission to be charged), but eventually allowed for Topsy to be hung, poisoned and electrocuted. Footage of the 1903 execution exists, recorded by the Thomas Edison’s film company.

RBG

Invention: George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, patented the first film roll in 1884, which was eventually used with his Kodak Black camera, developed in 1888. His film also became the standard used for early motion pictures. The George Eastman Museum, in Rochester, is the oldest photography museum in the world, with an extensive film archive.

Crime: A few significant assassinations have taken place in New York, including the murders of U.S. President William McKinley, civil rights activist Malcolm X and musician John Lennon. McKinley was shot as he appeared at the 1901 Pan-American Expo. Malcolm X was swarmed by three members of the Nation of Islam, wounded 21 times. Lennon was killed outside his home by a man he had earlier signed an autograph for.

Law: In New York, it’s illegal to talk to a stranger in an elevator. There goes all that awkward small talk with people. I kind of hope this law has legs and spread outside the state.

Sports Team: New York City is a busy sporting hub with teams such as the Yankees and Mets (MLB), Knicks and Nets (NBA) and Islanders and Rangers (NHL). Buffalo also has a couple teams in the Bills (NFL) and Sabres (NHL). Although named New York, both the Jets and Giants (NFL) play in New Jersey. There’s also a ton of NCAA sports going on across the state.

Film

Athlete: Two of basketballs greatest players of all-time were born in New York City boroughs. Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were dominant athletes, winning six NBA Championships each. There’s also controversial boxer and ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’, Mike Tyson, the youngest fighter to ever win a heavyweight title.

Famous Home: There are a number of New York landmarks related to former U.S. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and his cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Teddy Roosevelt Birthplace and Sagamore Hill estate were homes to Teddy at opposite ends of his life. Meanwhile, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, in Hyde Park, is where FDR hosted his famous fireside chats.

Urban Legend: In 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered six of his family members, in their Amityville home. A year later, the Lutz family moved into the home and began experiencing paranormal activity. These events inspired The Amity Horror franchise, with much debate over the authenticity of the Lutz’s accounts. The home still stands, although the address was changed to discourage visitors.

Museum: The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, in Cooperstown, is a mecca for baseball lovers. Built in 1939, by the heir to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune, exhibits today include Baseball at the Movies, One for the Books (about records set by players and teams), a walkthrough history of the sport, the Hall of Fame plaque gallery, and many others.

Mike Tyson

Firsts: The first pizzeria in the U.S. opened in New York City, in 1905. Lombardi’s Pizza still operates today, but was closed at one point for 10 years, before moving a block away from the original location. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the pizzeria first opening, pizzas were sold for only 5 cents, the price of a pie (they don’t sell slices) in 1905.

Company: All the major TV networks are headquartered in New York City, including ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox. Top cable channels, such as HBO and Comedy Central also call NYC home. This, along with the city having some of the top newspapers, publishing houses and record companies, has led to it being called the media capital of the world.

Events: When two planes were flown into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the world stood still. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for what was later dubbed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which also included a plane crashing into the Pentagon and another into a field in Pennsylvania. All tolled, 2,977 people were killed, with a further 25,000 injured.

Miscellaneous: The ‘I Love New York’ (I ❤ NY) campaign, was launched in 1977, to bring attention to the state’s tourism industry. It included the famous slogan, logo and a song. ‘I Love New York’ has become the State Slogan and the logo – created by graphic designed, Milton Glaser, using a red crayon, while riding in a taxi – can be seen on all matters of souvenirs.

Five Boroughs 2

The Bronx

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 0.25 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Dry Vermouth
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Garnish with an Orange Twist

Brooklyn

  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Manhattan

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Queens

  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Staten Island Ferry

  • 2 oz Coconut Rum
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with a Pineapple Wedge/Coconut Shavings

There are so many cocktail options from the state of New York and I felt doing all five New York City boroughs cocktails was the best solution. For those keeping track, that meant 12 ounces of booze needed to be consumed, so you can bet the Sip Advisor enjoyed the experiment.

Flavour Revolution – Grape

Grumpy Grapes

I try to be as optimistic and happy as I can in life. Sure, not everything has gone the way I’d want it to, but that’s no reason to become a bitter, miserable person… a person who can be defined as a ‘sour grapes’ type. Love them, or typically hate them, here are some of those folks:

Ebenezer Scrooge – A Christmas Carol

Before having his personality and therefore future changed for the better by three visiting Christmas spirits, Ebenezer Scrooge was one of the most miserly men you could ever come across. His cruelty knew no limit, driving even his closest family members away. Scrooge’s misery can be traced back to neglect from his own father, who left the young boy all alone at boarding school during the holiday season. With his trademark “Bah, humbug!”, Scrooge makes his gruff opinion quite clear to anyone around him.

Scrooge 1%

Gregory House – House

This incredibly talented doctor is a miserable prick with a bedside manner that leaves a lot to be desired… and that’s just the way he likes to be. Thanks to an aneurysm in his thigh, House loses the use of one of his legs and the operation that saved what is left of the limb, ruined his relationship with a long-time love. Add a drug addiction to deal with his chronic pain and you can kind of understand why the guy is so angry. Somehow, House has managed to maintain one friend, fellow doctor James Wilson, who manages to put up with the curmudgeonly diagnostic expert.

The Grinch – How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Much like Scrooge, the Grinch has no interest in his fellow man (or in this case, Whovillians). He’s content to live inside an isolated cave and never have any contact with the outside world. The extent of The Grinch’s bitterness leads him to want to ruin Christmas for the Whos down in Whoville and he sets upon a devious plan to steal the holiday. The Whos, however, aren’t phased by this, leading to the Grinch’s heart growing three sizes (really it was a massive coronary episode) and a complete change in character.

Grumpy Cat

The Sip Advisor is a big Grumpy Cat fan (and an admirer of all kitties in general). The memes created using Grumpy Cat – real name Tardar Sauce, although Grumpy Cat is much better – are some of the best on the internet. Many don’t know that Grumpy Cat actually looks the way she does because of an underbite and a form of feline dwarfism. I love how the owner of this feline turned a negative into a positive, creating joy for many, while also amassing a fortune that will help this kitty live comfortably for all of her nine lives!

grumpy-cat-disappoints

Mr. Potter – It’s a Wonderful Life

At every twist and turn, George Bailey’s life seems to always hit some sort of snag, but none of these are more crippling then when George’s uncle Billy absent-mindedly loses the money he meant to deposit for their Building & Loan business. Mr. Potter, an adversary and competitor to the Bailey’s happens to come across the money-filled envelope and takes it for his own gains. We learn, when George wishes he never existed, that without him, the town of Bedford Falls would be known as Pottersville and would be inhabited with all the grime a slumlord could ever dream of.

Grumpy – Snow White

Perhaps it’s the years of wear and tear on his body from working in the mines. Perhaps it’s having to live with seven dudes (total sausage fest!). Perhaps it’s simply the fact that he’s a dwarf. Regardless, Grumpy is not a happy person (that’s reserved for Happy!) and can’t even be cheered up by the musical stylings of Snow White and his fellow mining brethren. Despite not initially welcoming Snow White to the fold, Grumpy is the first to rush into battle with the Evil Queen, after she poisons the fair princess with that dastardly poison apple. Healthy food, my ass!

Inspector Javert – Les Miserables

As the title implies, every character in this musical is miserable (and each has their own good reason to be so), but Javert really takes the cake. He’s obsessed with ruining the life of Jean Valjean, a former prisoner who has escaped from parole and managed to elude capture. Even in the end, Javert just can’t let go of his fixation on Valjean and it ends up costing him his life. The dude commits suicide because he was shown mercy from the very man he has hunted for so many years. You’d think with all the wine the French have access to, they’d be a little more relaxed.

Flavour Revolution: Arctic Summer

Arctic Summer Cocktail

  • Muddle Raspberries
  • 1.5 oz Bacardi Arctic Grape Rum
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge and Raspberry

It’s amazing how many of these characters have a connection to Christmas media. It’s the best time of the year (or so the song implies) so why are miserable people an enhanced version of themselves around the holidays? Speaking of the holidays, if you’re ever in Spain for New Year’s Eve, tradition dictates that when the clock strikes midnight, you should eat 12 grapes, one to go with each chime of the New Year.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
This is kind of a mint-less, soda-less version of a Raspberry Mojito, but what it lacked it could have used. I’m looking forward to trying more cocktails with the Arctic Grape Rum, as that was the best part of the drink.

December 3 – Chocolate Peppermintini

Christmas Classics

Especially given it’s the winter months and the weather outside is frightful, it’s nice to snuggle up and watch a bevy of classic Christmas films. What should you include in your movie marathon? Ask and you shall receive. Here are my favourite Christmas flicks!

It’s a Wonderful Life

I absolutely adore this classic. And when you think about it, many of us might have never viewed the tale that has been copied and parodied so many times. It was never intended to be a “Christmas movie”, but that’s what it became. Jimmy Stewart is amazing throughout the movie (no surprise there, as the dude is actually an American hero) and his portrayal of George Bailey, who is too often in the wrong place at the wrong time, is one of the most treasured characters in cinema history.

Elf

The story of Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell at his usual level of crazy!) searching out his father and integrating into the fast-paced world of New York City is a fun movie to get into the swing of things during the holidays. Buddy has to work hard to get the hardened folks of New York City, as well as the rest of the world to find their Christmas spirit, which powers Santa’s sleigh, of course. The film, which has material both kids and parents alike can enjoy, has even led to a Broadway musical.

Bad Santa

If you’ve been following this site for any period of time, you knew that a raunchier film was going to come up at some point… here it is! Billy Bob Thornton plays Willie T. Stokes, an alcoholic womanizer who roams from town to town as a mall Santa, staking out his place of occupation in order to rob the store before moving on to the next score. Things are different this time when he falls for a woman and a loner kid and decides to eventually change his ways.

A Christmas Carol/Scrooge

It’s hard to pick a version that is best to view, but my favourites include The Muppet version (no surprise there) and probably the edition with Alastair Sim playing the cranky curmudgeon. Like It’s a Wonderful Life, this is another Christmas tale that has been parodied constantly, as Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, warning him that if he doesn’t change his ways, many will be affected and no one will care when his time on the earth is done.

Scrooge

Home Alone

While I’d caution folks who wish to view any of the movies past Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, the first two entries are cinematic gems. As a kid, you only wanted to see the last segments of the films, where plucky Kevin McCallister sends burglars Harry and Marv (The Wet Bandits) through his nightmarish house of horrors, but with age and wisdom, I’ve come to realize the movies are much more than that. They include a lot of wonderful Christmas imagery and are perfect holiday romps.

A Christmas Story

This movie is a family favourite around the Sip Advisor offices. The story sees young Ralphie embark on a quest to receive a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. He runs into obstacles at every corner from his teacher giving him a poor grade on his essay on what he wants for Christmas to Santa Claus himself (a mall Santa that is) telling him he’ll shoot his eye out… and he nearly does in the end. TV network TBS has been known to broadcast the movie in a 24-hour cycle on Christmas day, so if you haven’t seen it yet, shame on you!

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

What a treasure this movie is. From Cousin Eddie’s antics to the misadventures of the hapless Clark Griswold, there are so many laughs in this film. Clark is looking to provide his family the perfect Christmas experience, much like the ones he enjoyed as a youngster. That all goes awry as the holiday becomes more of a nightmare with each incident, underscored by Clark’s uncertainty of whether his Christmas bonus will arrive and allow him to build a swimming pool for his clan.

shitter-was-full

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Some people crap on this flick, but I think it’s quite enjoyable. Thanks to the longer running time, not afforded to the cartoon special classic, we get a better understanding of why the Grinch hates Christmas and all the Who’s down in Whoville. Jim Carrey was the perfect choice to play the ‘mean one’ whose heart grew three times that day. This movie ushered in the chain of Dr. Suess stories to be adapted for feature films; some good, some bad… this is one of the good ones.

Die Hard & Die Hard 2: Die Harder

I’m a little disappointed that this series abandoned the Christmas time setting after the first two releases. This is for the action fan out there that wants only a sprinkle of the Christmas spirit in their movies. The first film begins with an office Christmas party that is invaded by terrorists while the sequel is set in an airport, as hero John McClane is waiting for his wife to arrive home for the holidays. Both movies are filled with shootouts, creative kills, and catchphrases galore!

Love, Actually

If you’re looking for a little more romance with your Christmas movie fare, give this film a try. It’s one of those “separate stories that all come together at the end” ensemble cast dealies, but it’s very good… even if Hugh Grant is a featured actor… a Prime Minister, no less. Set in Britain during the lead up to Christmas, the film sets out to prove that “Love, actually is all around us” and they hit the nail on the head through the interweaving narratives.

Drink #337: Chocolate Peppermintini

Chocolate Pepperminti Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Christmas Sprinkles
  • 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Smores)
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 0.5 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • Top with Milk

What are your favourite Christmas movie viewings? I’m always looking to add to my annual “To Watch” list, so send those ideas in!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
While not a bad drink, Mrs. Sip didn’t like how sweet it was. I enjoyed its booziness and flavours (I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate and mint together!), although using the Smores Vodka might have altered the taste and a plain Vodka may have been bettered suited for the recipe.

July 18 – Rasputin Cocktail

Idol Worship

Throughout my life, I have found myself fascinated by certain individuals. People whose life stories intrigue me and make me want to actually “learn” more about them and their history. I wouldn’t say that these people are idols of mine, but they are extremely interesting folks, with tales that tend to captivate the masses.

Steve Jobs

While I’m not the biggest fan of Apple and its products (seriously, how annoying is the iTunes interface and non-compatibility?), I find Steve Jobs, the company’s founder and later saviour, to be a captivating case study. He lived a short life, but made the most of his time on earth. We can credit Jobs with so many innovations, from home computers, virtually every device with an ‘i’ in front of it, and even Pixar movies, the company he grew between his Apple stints.

Steve Jobs

Walt Disney

As a massive fan of Disneyland, I pay much homage to the man who first imagined the concept and then put his dream into work, jeopardizing everything he had built to that point, from reputation to life savings to his studio to his physical well-being. Every time I’m privileged to be in one of his parks (and particularly one that serves alcohol), I’m sure to say a little thanks to the legend and have a drink in his honour.

Ric Flair

For those who read my blog regularly, by now you should know that no Sip Adivsor list would be complete without a wrestling reference. This man styled and profiled his way to wrestling greatness and in the process lived the extravagant lifestyle of his on-screen character. Flair has been married (and divorced) four times and suffered great financial losses from bad investments, legal issues, and a lifetime of partying. Still, the ‘Nature Boy’ keeps ticking, making occasional appearances in the ring and still delighting fans with his over-the-top charisma and energy.

ric_flair

Rasputin

The amazing story of the assassination of Grigori Rasputin is one that first caught my attention in my high school history class. Now that I’ve actually visited Russia and been inside the room where his murder took place, I’m even more enthralled with the legend. For those who don’t know the details, Rasputin was poisoned, shot, stabbed and beaten, before being thrown into the frozen Neva River. Evidence later showed that water was in his lungs when his body was discovered, meaning he was still alive when thrown into his watery grave and likely succumbed to drowning.

Jimmy Stewart

Did you know that the It’s a Wonderful Life star was also a highly-decorated United States military pilot (the only actor to receive a higher ranking was Ronald Reagan, when he became president of the United States and commander-in-chief)? So, not only is Stewart one of my favourite actors, but you have to respect a guy that went to war throughout an acclaimed acting career.

Drink #199: Rasputin Cocktail

July 18

  • 2 oz Russian Vodka (I used Beluga)
  • 1 oz Frangelico
  • Garnish with Lemon Twist

One more person who fascinates me, is myself. I often ponder my own existence and I’m blown away with what I’ve accomplished and continue to achieve. I’m a wrecking ball of awesomeness, steamrolling the lame, and making this world a better place, one cocktail at a time!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I didn’t think I’d like this cocktail as much as I did. The Frangelico was nice and not overwhelming. I split half of the Vodka portion of the recipe between Plain Vodka and Raspberry Vodka and that accentuated the entire cocktail.